Boy shot US teacher during class: chief

The six-year-old US student who shot and wounded his teacher pulled the handgun from a backpack and shot her while she was teaching his first-grade class, a police chief says.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew on Monday offered the first description of how the shooting happened.

He had previously said the shooting was not accidental and declined to elaborate.

Drew said the student pulled the gun out, pointed at the teacher and fired at her.

There was no physical struggle over the gun preceding the gunshot, he said. No students were injured.

Drew said the gun had been legally purchased by the child's mother in York County.

It was in the child's residence, he put it in his back pack and brought it to school, the chief said.

The teacher who was wounded on Friday in the shooting, Abby Zwerner, is in stable condition at an area hospital.

Describing her as a hero, Drew said he had spoken to her and one of her biggest concerns was for her students.

Drew said after the shooting, the boy was physically restrained by a school employee and that he struck the employee. The boy was taken away in a police car.

A candlelight vigil in honour of Zwerner is planned for Monday night.

Principal Briana Foster Newton said in an update on the school's website that the school would be closed for the week.

Police have declined to describe what led to the altercation or any other details about what happened in the classroom, citing the ongoing investigation.

Virginia law does not allow six-year-olds to be tried as adults, and a six-year-old is too young to be committed to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice if found guilty.

Authorities have not specified where the boy was being held.